Same-sex marriage conversations must remain respectful

Wednesday will be a historic moment in Australia’s history.

In fact, most of the world will be watching to see how we have decided to vote in the same-sex marriage survey.

The survey took a long time to come – including states attempting to legalise same-sex marriage themselves.

But, it would always come down to federal law needing to be changed. The Marriage Act must be changed for same-sex marriage to be legal.

Since the survey was announced in September, the debate has been robust and loud.

The average debate was pleasant and reasonable. But the extremes were bad, and at times down right nasty and off topic. At times, facts went astray and respect was also lost.

At 10am on Wednesday, when the Australian Bureau of Statistics announces the results, some people will be bitterly upset.

This could be  the no voters who emphatically believe that the term marriage is exclusive to a man and woman. 

They have argued that changing the definition of marriage is not in line with their religion or religious freedoms will be at risk with the change. That it’s OK to say no.

Some no campaigners have also raised issues with education and the influence same-sex marriage would have on children.

Some of these claims have been found to be baseless and simply not true.

Then, there are those who refer to the survey as marriage equality rather than same-sex marriage.

If the result is no, expect some heartbroken people in our community who campaigned for what they believe to be equal rights.

Regardless of the vote, the fact remains there are people in our community who identify as LGBTQI. It’s important the survey doesn’t define them as a person.

The result doesn’t change who they are – they are still valued members of our community.

Whether the result is a yes or no, everyone associated will react with emotion. Obviously those emotions would be very different depending on the result. 

Therefore the respectful conversations must continue as we move past November 15 and either begin the process of legalising same-sex marriage in parliament or it will be back to an election issue.